First published on 15 Mar 2012. Updated on 29 Mar 2012.
1 Get a ticket
For eager 'tributes' keen to get a look at Katniss Everdeen in action, tickets are already on sale. So get online now and secure your place and… (here we go!) “may the odds be ever in your favour”. Failing that, we suspect fans of the series know well how to deal with the “lots of young people chasing limited resources” problem. We’re not suggesting axes or spears or awls or blowguns, but why not show up ticket-less and barter with those who’ve thought farther ahead than you, District 12-style?
2 Train up
There won’t be game masters or feasts or giants from the inner districts, but you can train for your Hunger Games experience, as all worthy tributes should. Laser Tag at Tech Assault in Thornbury should get you in the combat mood. Or, if you’re feeling a little less energetic than that, you can always find the latest series of Survivor streaming somewhere.
3 Get a pre-movie meal
So, food’s a little easier to come by in Melbourne than it is in the arena, or in most of the outer districts. But you can make this aspect of your night's fun by choosing to eat like Peeta or eat like Gale (for the uninitiated, think Jacob and Edward, just with fewer abs and fewer fangs). If you’re on team Peeta (and you should be!) pay homage to the baker’s son by nibbling on something crusty at one of the city’s own fine bakeries: Aviv and Sugardough are staples and have that rustic district feel. If you happen to be rooting for expert hunter Gale, then something gamey’s what you're after. You could just shoot a pigeon and fry it up if you’re feeling very authentic, but better to head to the Royal Mail on Spencer for a posher hunter's feast: wallaby steak, anyone?
4 Have a mood-setting drink
You don’t want to get shit-faced before the film – and as it's 142 minutes, you don’t want to brim-fill your bladder either – but it would be inappropriate to meet Woody Harrelson as former Games winner Haymitch Abernathy when you’re completely sober. So find yourself a good dive selling hard liquor, and settle in. The Labour in Vain is always good but really, find something suburban. Haymitch is in his wizened and regretful stage of alcoholism, and that’s the kind of company you want to keep if you’re looking to stay faithful to the book.
5 Watch the film
6 Enjoy a mood-altering finale
So you’ve seen the film: you’re either thrilled that it met your expectations, bummed that it didn’t or still sloshed from that dive bar. But if the games have taught us anything it is this: just when you think it’s over, it isn’t. So keep your night going with a tribute to those hallucination-inducing tracker jackers – one sting from these genetically altered wasps equals, say, eight tabs – in the most legal way possible, at Borsch Vodka and Tears. With one little green drop of absinthe here boasting a 75 percent alcohol content, you’ll be so Haymitched tomorrow you won’t even remember tonight. Which just means you can do it all again.
The Hunger Games screens from Thu 22 Mar